Benefits of Vacation
By Linsey Harrison, MD Psychiatrist
Everyone experiences some level of stress related to their job, and chronic stress takes a toll on your body. Vacations are a fun and effective way to break the cycle of stress. Taking time away from work is essential for achieving a healthy work- life balance, but many Americans don't use all of the vacation days allowed by their employers. Many of us succumb to various pressures – some self-imposed and some from management – to not take time off to which we are entitled. Roger Dow, president and chief executive of the U.S. Travel Association, stated that Americans "seem to be wired to put the pedal to the metal, but there are also undeniable benefits to tapping the brakes." When people take vacations, they experience improved creativity, higher energy, and better life satisfaction. Employers also reap the benefits when employees take vacations: higher productivity, better workplace morale, better employee retention and health benefits.
You don't take vacations because of the cost? A "stay-cation" can be just as relaxing as a far-flung getaway. Just unplug, shake up your routine, and find some interesting local attractions to feel like a tourist in your own neighborhood. Visit a park or museum, get a massage, hike or bike somewhere you've never been. You will benefit from simply taking time away from work and experiencing a change of pace. One recent study even suggested that the act of planning a vacation can provide as much happiness as the vacation itself. Perhaps it's time to start planning your vacation!